SAN ANTONIO – A woman who lives next door to a Southwest Side apartment that exploded late Wednesday night says she was knocked clear across the room.
Laura Barrientos says a strange odor caused her to get out of bed around 11 p.m., then a short time later, she was picking herself up off the floor.
“It started smelling sour, like gas, and I moved to the living room,” she says. “Not even five minutes later, I laid down and I ended up on the other side of the wall.”
In all, Barrientos says she heard two explosions coming from the apartment next door, in the 1700 block of W. Mayfield.
Afterward, she rushed outside and saw the man who lived there, seemingly in shock and with burns.
“I didn’t know what to do, because I could see his skin, boiling and everything, and he wasn’t even yelling,” Barrientos said.
San Antonio firefighters say when they arrived, they noticed very little fire, a sign that this involved gas.
They say the man who lived there told them he lit a cigarette while cooking, then saw blue flames just before everything around him exploded.
He was rushed to a hospital for treatment of his burns.
A fire department spokesman later confirmed that natural gas triggered the explosion.
However, he said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the gas leak.
The explosion blew out an exterior wall of the building, leaving a gaping hole where it had been.
Debris, including wooden beams and sheetrock, was scattered all across the grass.
CPS Energy crews spent most of the night, working in the area and making repairs.
Others who live in the apartment building, meanwhile, had been told to evacuate.
Barrientos left her home with her possessions in bags.
“Thank God that we’re good, we’re alive,” she said.
Still, Barrientos said she was not sure what the future holds for her and her neighbors.
Because of what happened, she said, they were told their homes are no longer safe.